April 20, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

SANTA MONICA News

A Funny Look Inside the PTA

Long time Santa Monica residents and omnipresent committee members Carol Olson and Cherie Rodgers have culled their breadth of volunteer experiences into a book. The PTA: Sex, Intrigue and Designer Handbags. The 153-page book is an insider’s look at a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in the rarefied environs of Los Angeles’ Westside.

“We have lived, breathed and eaten all that the PTA can dish up throughout our long history of service to schools and children. The PTA is our way of having some laughs with those with whom we served in the trenches of committee work,†said co-author Olson.

Those who want to experience the fun of the committee without the hours of work can pick up the fast-paced book on line at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or download it through the Outskirts site. For more information on the book and its authors, visit www.outskirtspress.com

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Santa Monica designer Michael Smith won the coveted commission of “Obama-sizing†the White House private quarters. Smith, a California native and graduate of L.A.’s Otis College of Art and Design has worked with local luminaries Steven Spielberg, Cindy Crawford, Dustin Hoffman and others. He has a reputation for designing glamorous yet functional and homey digs.

The White House commission is more honor than honorarium; incoming presidents are allocated a stipend of $100,000 per term to redecorate. In addition to these funds, Smith will have access to the White House warehouses and the Obama’s own furnishings. 

Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex Counts
A former Santa Monica teacher has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual molestation involving nine female students at Lincoln Middle School, as part of a plea deal that will send Thomas Arthur Beltran to prison for at least 14 years. The allegations against the 30-year veteran of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District involve attacks that go back as far as 2000. He was arrested in May after a 12-year-old student came forward to say she had been sexually abused.

Ken Genser is SM’s New Mayor
Ken Genser has been named to serve as mayor of Santa Monica. The longest-serving member of the City Council was approved unanimously by members who vote among themselves for the person who will serve two years as top official in the seaside city. He replaces outgoing mayor Herb Katz.

Unlicensed Contractors Prosecuted In Santa Monica Hosayn Mandi, owner of New Line Interiors in Santa Monica, was arraigned last month at the LAX criminal courthouse for criminal charges stemming from a recent kitchen remodeling job in which he is alleged to have taken a $15,000 down payment and then refused to perform any work or return the money. The charges against Mandi and New Line Interiors, filed on November 6, include contracting without a license, charging an excessive down-payment, theft, and operating without a city business license. The count of unlicensed contracting is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 dollar fine. The other offenses are each punishable by up to one year in County Jail.

Additionally, charging an excessive down payment has a maximum fine of $5,000.  The City Attorney’s office has already obtained a court order prohibiting Mandi and New Line Interiors from conducting any contractor business pending trial. The City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit filed the charges in November as part of an ongoing partnership with the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) to crack down on illegal practices by contractors in the Santa Monica. Mandi’s case was the unit’s fifth such filing of 2008, and as the trial-setting hearing is set for January 28, 2009, the case will be one of the Unit’s first prosecutions in 2009. “The tightening of credit and a worsening economy may create more opportunities in 2009 for unlicensed contractors to take advantage of Santa Monicans who are trying to find bargains,†said Rhoades. “However, the vast majority of our complaints involve not just the lack of licensing, but folks who didn’t get close to what they bargained for. It will be cheaper in the long run if you insist on licensed work.†The Consumer Protection Unit urges consumers to know their rights with contractors, including: the right to hire licensed contractors; the right to check a contractor’s license at www.cslb.ca.gov or (800) 321-2752; the right to pay only 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment; the right to a written contract that specifies project costs, the down payment, a payment schedule and start and completion date.

To report a consumer complaint against a contractor, call the CSLB fraud team at (562) 345-7600 or go to www.cslb.ca.gov. For any contractor problems in Santa Monica, call the Consumer Protection Unit at (310) 458-8336.

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